So on August 21st, 2017, along with most of the United States, we enjoyed the partial eclipse. No totality here; and until maybe a week before I didn’t realize that we would be able to see much of anything at all. By the time I found out that we could see a 60% eclipse right here it was way too late to try to score some eclipse glasses. Oh well, I thought, I’ll just take pictures with my camera. Wrong! The intensity of the sunlight could burn my camera’s optic’s just as easily as it could burn my retina. And when I went online to see about buying the appropriate filter for my camera, well they were either sold out or outrageously expensive.
That’s when being married to an engineer paid off, once again. Lee got online and whipped up a nifty eclipse viewer from my camera tripod, my bird-watching binoculars, a rubber band, and a piece of cardboard. Ta-da! Our eclipse viewing contraption was born.
Lee set it up in the driveway and we tested it out. It worked, but it took us a little bit to figure out how to focus it best. The other trouble was that darn movement of objects in space! We would get things focused just fine, but the next time we went outside to check on the eclipse’s progress the earth had moved and the sun was no longer in our viewfinder. During the course of the eclipse we had to move the tripod across the driveway, across the lawn, and almost into the flower beds! Luckily by the time we ran out of room the eclipse was over.
It started about 1:45 PM, right on schedule. At first the moon just took a teeny bite out of the sun, but gradually it grew and grew.
We went out to look at it about every ten minutes. It was very cool, even without totality.
It reached its maximum point at around 2:45 PM, right on schedule. Then it started to recede.
We watched the totality spread across the US online and on TV. When totality hit Columbia, Missouri, my old hometown, I got tears in my eyes. Its hard to say exactly why, something to do with the wonder of the universe, I guess.
I took a picture of totality on TV when it reached Nashville, another one of my old haunts.
When we were at our max I took my camera down the driveway and took pictures of the moon shadows among the trees. This was the coolest part to me. I don’t really comprehend why the moon makes shadows on the ground among the trees. It has something to do with the little gaps of light between the leaves working the same as a pinhole camera. Whatever the reason I loved the way they looked.
Now apparently there will be another total eclipse across the US in seven years. This one will let people from Texas to Maine experience totality. I might just have to travel to that one!